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Abu Dhabi

‘Thrive in Abu Dhabi’ programme launched to encourage global talent, investors to build their futures in the emirate


Talented professionals and students, plus investors, in priority sectors, are being encouraged to set down roots with their families in Abu Dhabi as part of a new programme that supports the emirate’s strategy to develop key areas such as culture, healthcare, research and development (R&D) and real estate.

Talented professionals and students, plus investors, in priority sectors, are being encouraged to set down roots with their families in Abu Dhabi as part of a new programme that supports the emirate’s strategy to develop key areas such as culture, healthcare, research and development (R&D) and real estate.

Thrive in Abu Dhabi highlights the long-term visas and paths to citizenship available for expats working, creating, studying, excelling or investing in priority sectors that empower them to build their futures in a safe, welcoming and supportive environment, while contributing to Abu Dhabi’s sustainable development. 
Creative talent are encouraged to be part of a global arts and culture hub, join the emirate’s dynamic media and entertainment industry, or support the development of our understanding of the past among fellow academics, conservators and archaeologists.
The creative visa builds on Abu Dhabi’s five-year Culture Sector Strategy for Abu Dhabi, unveiled in November 2019 by the Department of Culture and Tourism, which covers five strategic objectives: preserve and sustain Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage; increase awareness of, and engagement with, cultural heritage and the arts; stimulate creativity as a driver for education and social change; build and enable capacity in Abu Dhabi’s culture sector; contribute to economic growth and diversification.
Abu Dhabi has a thriving cultural and creative sector with strong global credentials, including world-class museums, arts centres, art fairs, music concerts, and a grassroots artistic community. These include Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Warehouse241, Abu Dhabi Art annual fair, Qasr AlHosn and Cultural Foundation and the forthcoming Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim, as well as international educational institutions supporting students to excel in creative industries: NYU Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, Berkley College and CNN Academy.
Students with a PhD or promising scientific ability at either high school or university level can study at one of a collection of world-class academic institutions in Abu Dhabi, including NYU Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and Khalifa University, which in January 2019 was ranked 13th out of 442 universities from 43 countries in the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings. 
Students can learn the skills of the future, including in specialist areas such as AI, at the new Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence, or coding at the innovative coding school 42 Abu Dhabi. They can participate in pioneering research in areas related to Covid-19 and AgTech at UAE University, or focus on tolerance and coexistence at the world’s first university dedicated to human fraternity, the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities.
Thrive in Abu Dhabi invites innovators to turn their idea into reality – with access to funding and incentives – as part of a dynamic R&D ecosystem that is pioneering new technologies to solve the global challenges of the future, from water security to food technology.
The emirate is focused on fostering a thriving R&D ecosystem that brings together all relevant players, including academic institutions, research institutes and the private sector. In 2020, Abu Dhabi launched the Middle East’s first research council, the Advanced Technology Research Centre (ATRC). It includes the Technology Innovation Institute, whose seven pillars are quantum research, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy and secure systems.
As part of Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme, Ghadan 21, the Department of Education and Knowledge has launched academic research grants to award AED40 million in competitive research funding to support R&D. Abu Dhabi’s economic investment strategy is also focused on attracting innovation-led companies that are focused on R&D. For example, all AgTech firm investments by Abu Dhabi last year included significant R&D set-ups.
Investors, including entrepreneurs, can tap into major opportunities by expanding their business in key sectors including five ‘growth sectors’ identified by ADIO – financial services, ICT, health services and biopharma, AgTech, and tourism – as well as real estate. Long-term visas also empower expats to invest in their “forever home” in an attractive real estate market where they can plan to retire.
Start-ups are receiving significant support, with Abu Dhabi emerging as a global start-up hub, particularly for future technologies such as FinTech, AgTech, HealthTech and EdTech. Ghadan 21 has accelerated the ecosystem’s development by supporting start-ups and SMEs through initiatives such as Hub71, a global start-up ecosystem that is now home to more than 100 start-ups, Ventures Fund (managed by ADQ) and SME Credit Guarantee and SME supply chain financing initiative. 
Those who excel in areas such as sport, healthcare, science, education or engineering are enabled to accelerate their careers in a global trade hub with a rapidly diversifying economy and fast-growing private sector that supports residents

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